Artist: Linkin Park
Album: One More Light
In Brief: The problem with Linkin Park’s seventh album isn’t that it’s mellow and poppy. The problem is that it’s stubbornly, maddeningly generic, which is not something I could say about even the absolute worst songs on their previous albums.
Here’s the stuff that just didn’t do it for me this year. With one or two exceptions, I don’t listen to these artists expecting their music to be bad… I’ve heard at least a little something I enjoyed from everyone on this list in the past. Some of them just got lazy this year, while others seem aggressively committed to being the most obnoxiously lowest-common-denominator version of themselves that they can be. Neither of those things will land you on the good side of my year-end list-making bonanza. Having said that, I’ve made a good faith effort to embed a song I kinda liked from each of these albums, just to show that these records aren’t all bad.
Before I get to the albums that got me most excited this year, I figured I should take a quick look back at the albums that were so disappointing that it was hard for me to even muster up the courage to give them a second listen. Of course I did eventually go back to these records to see if a little time and more carefully managed expectations would change my perception of these them, but for the most part, they failed to deliver. Not everything about these records is bad, and the worst of the bunch merits a D minus rather than a hard F in my book, so I’ve certainly heard worse in previous years. I’ve also heard something genuinely enjoyable from everyone on this list in previous years (or in one case, this year). But I can safely say that all of these artists fell short of their potential this time around.
Artist: Relient K
Album: Collapsible Lung
In Brief: I believe Relient K could make an excellent pop album. Unfortunately, this is not that album. Collapsible Lung is easily the band’s worst so far.
Artist: Sigur Rós
In Brief: A long, drawn-out, sad disappointment of a record. This is NOT how a band should return from a four-year hiatus.
In Brief: A maddening and largely unlistenable album, despite several highlights. Unless you find every sound that Björk makes to be infinitely fascinating, avoid Medúlla at all costs.
Album: Some Nights
In Brief: A sorely disappointing follow-up to a solid debut, with an irritating lead single that you’ll likely hear just about everywhere. File this one under “What the @$&! were they thinking?”